Concept mapping has many applications and has been used as an effective teaching strategy in nursing and other disciplines to evaluate both content knowledge and student thinking patterns. Previous applications related to nursing care planning usually organize client information around a medical diagnosis. The approach described is focused around the reason for nursing care and a holistic nursing view of the client, rather than a disease model. Students use a software program to cluster and sort assessment data to identify client problems and describe relationships between the problems. This results in a nonlinear "picture" of the client that can be used for nursing care planning. The process is dynamic and flexible, prompting students to identify gaps in information, consider salience, and understand the complexity of the particular client situation. It teaches critical thinking skills and nursing theory, develops competence with technology, and fosters effective interchange between faculty and students.
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